… As Catholic Community Holds Grand Reception at Thanksgiving Mass
By Chioma Ndife
Two blood brothers from the family of the late Chief Paul Ositadinma and Mrs. Beatrice Njideka Nwune from Umuriam Village, Nawfia, have increase the number of Nawfia indigenous priests to nine, following their ordination.
The two brothers, namely, Rev. Frs. Ikenna Kelvin and Paul Onyekachukwu Nwune, were ordained Catholic priests in the order of Melchizedek on the 22nd of July, 2021, by his Grace, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, of the Lagos Archdiocese, for the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary and on the 31st July, 2021, by Rt. Rev. Philip Egan, for the Diocese of Portsmouth.
The first Holy Mass and grand reception organized for the new priests by the Catholic Community of Nawfia was held on Sunday August 22, at St. Anthony’s Church, Nawfia.
Leading in the Eucharistic Celebration, Rev. Fr. Ikenna Kelvin Nwune thanked God for assisting him to actualize his dreams of becoming a priest, noting that the priestly vocation would be an avenue for him to reach out people and impact lives positively.
He said that his joy was beyond boundaries to be celebrating with his elder brother whose advice and assistance aided him in answering God’s call and prayed for God’s continuous direction upon his affairs and that of his brother.
Speaking to Fides, Fr. Kelvin Nwune, the 8th Indigenous Priest of Nawfia Community, said he was overwhelmed with happiness to be having his first Holy Mass and thanksgiving with his elder brother, saying that it was easy for the two brothers to dedicate themselves in the work of God.
He disclosed that he went to conventional institutions and subsequently served Nigeria as a corps member before the call for priestly vocation became clear. He said that he joined the congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary due the great love and admiration which he had for the Blessed Virgin Mary.
He explained that he never saw himself as a priest while striving to add meaning to his life, attributing it to the reasons why he did not join the seminary for formation while in secondary school.
Also Speaking, Rev. Fr. Onyekachukwu Nwune, disclosed that his priesthood came at God’s appointed time, as the people he started seminary formation with had celebrated their 12 years in priesthood.
He explained that his seminary formation and journey into priesthood was delayed due to family responsibilities as he was the eldest in a family of six and had wanted to assist the younger ones excel in different fields before continuing his journey into priesthood.
He revealed that one of the challenges negatively affecting most priests and drawing back from performing optimally in their vocation was family responsibilities, noting that he took care of such responsibilities through God’s help before his priesthood to avoid family distractions and drawbacks.
He noted that he started nursing the dream of becoming a priest at the age of 7 when he joined the altar servers at St. Anthony’s Parish, Nawfia, when the Spiritan priests were managing the parish, saying that he had long desired to be a priest.
Fr. Paul Nwune said he had special interest in the youth apostolate and highlighted various plans he had mapped out to assist youths discover their potentials and return to God’s solemn worship, saying that he preached the gospel of Christ by the life he lived.
Earlier in his homily, Fr. Paul emphasized the importance of family in youth formation and advised parents to ensure that their children were trained in the ways of God to prevent them from departing from such later in life.
He said it was important for children to respect and honor their parents, calling on parents to always endeavour to prayer as it acted as a blessing and paved way for greater breakthrough in the life of such a child.
Contributing, the first indigenous priest of Nawfia Community, Rev. Fr. Prof. Hyacinth Ichoku, thanked God for the gift of the two priests, saying that the ordination of the new priests had increased the number of priests in the community to 9, and ascribed it as part of the wonders of God’s work.
He said that the indigenous priests would keep working round the clock to ensure the propagation of Catholic faith and expressed surprise that Fr. Paul, after so many years, later made it into the priestly vocation.
In an address of welcome, the Catholic Community of Nawfia thanked God for his benevolence upon the community, especially with the gift of two priests, and prayed God to assist the new priests in answering his call effectively.
They appreciated the organizing committee for harmonizing the event of the day and their efforts towards reaching out to individuals that contributed towards the success of the reception and recalled the immense support received from those living in foreign countries, saying it was instrumental to the day’s success.
Presentation of a car, Mass box and cash gifts to the new priests, were the highpoints of the reception.